Lost Trail Runner in RMNP

Search Continues for Missing Hiker Chad Pallansch in Rocky Mountain National Park

ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, CO — Park rangers are intensifying their search for 49-year-old Chad Pallansch of Fort Collins, Colorado, who was reported missing on September 28. He was last heard from on September 27 around noon.

Pallansch embarked on his journey from the East Inlet Trailhead near Grand Lake on Wednesday, September 27. According to park officials, his planned route covered an ambitious 28 miles, crossing the Continental Divide and passing through a mix of established trails and challenging off-trail terrains like steep talus slopes. His potential travel areas include Lake Verna, Mount Alice, Chiefs Head Peak, Black Lake, Mills Lake, and Flattop Mountain.

Pallansch is described as 5 feet 7 inches tall, weighing 155 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes. An experienced trail runner and marathoner, he is likely wearing a black ultralight jacket, black running shorts or leggings, and a grey fanny pack.

Search activities commenced on September 28, immediately after Pallansch was reported overdue. Both air reconnaissance and ground teams have been deployed in a multi-pronged approach. On the first day, ground crews scoured the North Inlet and East Inlet Trails and areas east of the divide near Mount Alice.

Today, September 29, the search extended to the Black Lake and Upper Glacier Gorge area and Thunder Lake, as well as the North Inlet Trail to Solitude Lake. Park rangers continue to carry out investigations parallel to the ongoing search efforts.

The National Park Service Investigative Services Bureau has set up a dedicated tip line for anyone who might have information that could aid in locating Pallansch. If you were in any of the aforementioned areas on September 27 or have information that could assist investigators, you are urged to come forward. Anonymous tips are welcomed.

Contact Information:

Alex Derr, Founder of The Next Summit

Alex Derr is an Eagle Scout, climber, and environmental policy expert located in Denver, Colorado. He created The Next Summit to help others stay safe exploring the mountains and advocate to preserve the peaks for the future. Follow him on Linkedin or Twitter or click here to contact him.

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Hi, I'm Alex!

In 2018, I watched in disbelief as dozens of people hiked into a storm on Longs Peak, unaware of the extreme danger. Soon after, I started The Next Summit to educate and empower the public to safely and responsibly explore America's mountains.

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